In Hebrews 5 the author is talking about Jesus being our high priest. He then says that there is much more he could say about that but they are not able to understand because they are not mature. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (vs. 12-14, ESV) He then goes on to say that they need to move on from elementary teachings.
So how does this happen? How can we grow from milk to meat?
One way we grow is through our intake of the Bible. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (emphasis mine, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV) We grow through the daily reading and studying of God’s Word and applying it to our daily lives. It’s not enough just to read it. We have to put it into practice.
Another way we grow is through community with other believers. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (emphasis mine, Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV) We grow through meeting with other Christians and encouraging each other in the faith, challenging each other to love and obey God.
A third way we grow is through praying. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5 ESV) We grow in our dependence on God as we bring our requests to Him in prayer. Our faith in Him grows as He answers our prayers. As we learn more about Him, we praise and thank Him in our prayers. God speaks to us through His Word (the Bible) and we speak to God through our prayers. That is how our relationship grows.
Ultimately though it is God who grows us. “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:7 ESV) “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 ESV) As we read our Bibles, meet with other Christians, and pray, God works in us to bring about growth so that we become mature and more like Christ. Sanctification, the process of becoming more Christ-like, is an ongoing process between us and God.